A man who shone a powerful laser at the police helicopter in a "drunken escapade" has been sentenced to alcohol treatment and community work.
Kristian Larsen, 44, was convicted of endangering transport when he shone a laser at the Eagle helicopter from the balcony of his central Auckland apartment on December 1.
Police said the pilot was momentarily blinded and suffered a headache the following day.
Sanjay Patel, lawyer for Larsen, told the Auckland District Court today that his client was "47 days sober" and completing an intensive alcohol detoxification programme.
"The wheels are now in motion for this man's total recovery," he said.
He said the fact that Larsen worked in the wine industry was "ironic" given his struggles with alcohol addiction.
Judge Gus Andree Wiltens described Larsen's actions as a "drunken escapade".
"You put at risk the pilot, the helicopter and anyone on the ground who would be at risk if the Eagle fell," he said.
Larsen was supported in court by his sister and a friend.
After the sentencing, Larsen described his actions as "regrettable".
"We all make mistakes, and this was mine to make," he said.
He said the incident had been a catalyst for him to deal with his alcohol addiction.
"[Treatment] is going very well. It's a welcome change," he said.
Larsen was ordered to complete 100 hours of community service, attend an alcohol recovery programme and be under court supervision for 12 months.